Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
The players are not so much teens as miniature adults, dissecting their own natures with insightfulness that typically comes through decades of reflection, if it comes at all.
It's another wan tale of an anti-social teen who finds himself irresistible to the sweetest, prettiest girl in school.
...a limp, lifeless and rote retread, utterly unconvincing in most of its New York details and so overly familiar it might as well have been titled 'Tadpole Goes Down an Infinite Playlist'
New York Times:
Someday every overprivileged, misunderstood high school boy who has ever come of age in New York will have his own movie, and one good thing about "The Art of Getting By" is that it brings that day, the day we can move on to other matters, a little closer
Ugh! For a movie devoted to an alleged geek-rebel underdog, this coming-of-age flick couldn't be more conformist...
Though Highmore and Roberts are appealing performers, Wiesen never gives us much reason to care about them.
Like Highmore's character, The Art Of Getting By takes a frustratingly long time to commit to any choices.
You wouldn't surf past "Say Anything" to find it, but "Art" is a decent-enough entry in an overcrowded genre.
To paraphrase Tolstoy (or, really, to mash up Tolstoy with J.D. Salinger), all unhappy adolescences are alike - or at least they look that way when condensed into 90-odd minutes of privileged self-pity.
For all his reliance on teen-movie formula, writer-director Gavin Wiesen is surprisingly adept at depicting messy emotions and capturing the spontaneity of adolescence.
Every scene, and nearly every moment, makes you wonder if Wiesen has talent.
Even slumped over Camus, Highmore's a charmer -- and he carries the movie well on his slim shoulders.
The Art of Getting By wants to be sweet and insightful, but ends up scattered and slight.
The chief function of this trite debut feature appears to be as a job application for its writer-director to join the Hollywood rom-com assembly line.
Los Angeles Times:
A charm-free wisp of a movie about that most annoying of recent archetypes: the mopey, privileged adolescent.
A dull yet extremely self-important drama about rich, badly parented kids who feel sorry for themselves.
New York Daily News:
There are several lessons to be learned in "The Art of Getting By," though all arrive too late to save this well-meaning but dreadfully executed movie.
New York Post:
A half-baked little movie that proves indies can be every bit as boringly formulaic and artistically bankrupt as their big-budget brethren.
New York Observer:
Unlike most recent coming-of-age movies, this one gets by on more than capricious eccentricity and sentimentality. It has something called heart.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Smart and sweet enough to become the favorite film of some Midwestern adolescent who wrongly believes he's already seen the dark side.
Globe and Mail:
The vapidity of The Art of Getting By goes beyond the anthill-sized dramatic stakes. The dialogue, while occasionally epigrammatic, is tone-deaf to individual speech rhythms.
Though it doesn't fully resonate as a romance, it is effective as a character study.
Gavin Wiesen's first film, as passive and vanilla as its title, continues the numbing trendlet begun in 2008 with Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist: dramatizing the stupefying dullness of privileged white teenagers in New York City.
For anyone not in a similar state of age-related solipsism - i.e., anyone outside the 16- to 25-year-old age bracket - this is more than a little annoying.